Expression of two isoforms of Lep d 2, the major allergen of Lepidoglyphus destructor, in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic systems


Olsson Department of Laboratory Medicine, Division of Clinical Immunology, Karolinska Hospital, S-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden.



The dust mite Lepidoglyphus destructor is a major cause of allergic diseases among farmers. We have previously cloned and sequenced two isoforms of the major allergen Lep d 2 (formerly designated Lep d 1) and found significant homology to group 2 allergens of the house dust mite species Dermatophagoides. We now report on the production and characterization of recombinant Lep d 2.


We have expressed both isoforms in two different expression systems; a eukaryotic system, baculovirus in insect cells and a prokaryotic system, E. coli. We have compared the two systems in regard to production yields and immunoreactivity of the recombinant allergens.


The complete cDNA including the natural leader sequence was cloned into the pBlueBacIII transfer vector, and the rLep d 2 was produced as a secreted protein in baculovirus. For the expression in E. coli, the cDNA was cloned into the pET vector, and the rLep d 2 was produced with six C-terminal histidine residues.

The purified recombinant allergens were tested for immunoreactivity with 10 sera from subjects allergic to Lepidoglyphus destructor and were compared with native Lep d 2 using inhibition immunoblotting. The ability of the recombinant allergens to release histamine from basophils was evaluated using a histamine release assay.


Both expression systems produced immunoreactive recombinant allergens. They inhibited the binding of human sera to native Lep d 2 confirming their retained IgE binding properties. The yield of pure recombinant protein from the prokaryotic system was ≈ 1 mg/L compared to the eukaryotic system which produced up to 4 mg/L in an adherent cell culture system.


We have produced recombinant Lep d 2 in prokaryotic and eukaryotic expression systems which are comparable to the native allergen. Recombinant Lep d 2 might now be included in more extensive clinical studies to confirm its usefulness in the in vitro and the in vivo diagnosis of Lepidoglyphus destructor.